So after a long drive we arrived at Shark Bay, a world heritage sight which contains oodles of lovely nature related things!
We were all shattered so after watching the sunset into the ocean we parked up for an overnight stop, about 30km south of Denhim.
The next morning we were up bright and breezy…these 8am starts are becoming worringly regular…and hit the road.
First stop along the way was Little Lagoon, slightly off the main road this salt water lagoon provided some much needed refreshment from the baking sun, which was now beginning to enter the high 30’s :S
The crystal clear, bath water temp shallow waters allowed a morning of snorkelling and sunbathing – although there wasn’t large amounts to see.
The next stop was one of the major attractions along our West Coast Roadtrip, Monkey Mia. This bay at the top end of Shark Bay is famous for its friendly population of wild dolphins. There is only one place to stay in Monkey Mia….make sure you budget for it….a camper van of 4 is $60 per night. It is however RIGHT on the beach and has good priced fuel, BBQ with hobs, hot showers, a shop and a bar.
We dived into the inviting water for another snorkelling session. Between the pelican occupied shore and the sea grass beds seemed uneventful but venturing further out Rob had a rather large shock as he encountered an 6foot wide stingray!
Heading back to sure it became apparent that the tranquil shallows were heavily populated by baby stingrays and it was pretty amazing watching them emerge from the sandy bottom and glide into the distance.
A night of sunsets, goon and didge on the beach after dinner was defo in order.
The next morning we awoke at 7am and headed to the shore. Alongside about 80 other sleep deprived people we lined up on the shoreline. Soon enough the dolphins appeared, a small pod of about 15. After an informative talk about the history of the wild dolphins in the area a select few got to feed a couple of them – Lorna included!
Seeing them up close was nice – I’ve encountered dolphins through surfing both in Ecuador and even North Devon – but never in water this clear or so up close.
During the talk we were also informed that Shark Bay does indeed live up to its name, with a healthy amount of sharks (including the Tiger Shark) dinning on the ample population of dolphins and dugongs (in fact Shark Bays expansive seagrass beds support the second largest population of dugongs in the world.) Rather worringly we were told that the previous day a 5 foot hammer head shark had come right into shore….within about 15metres of where we were snorkelling :S
After a delayed breakfast and some sun bathing the ‘newbie’ camper decided to hire a pedalow to have a ganders round the bay. I opted for the much more agile kayak approach. Within seconds of leaving the shore I found myself alongside a sea turtle, although it quickly disappeared amongst the sea grass. After about 20mins of random paddling we were caught off guard when a small pod of dolphins popped up! We quickly scrambled for our snorkels and me and Rob jumped in. An inquisitive dolphin came right up to Jonny who was now in my kayak whilst me and Rob enjoyed watching them swim underneath us.
Needless to say everyone was pretty stoked!
A few minutes later a Bat Ray decided to jump clean out of the water just metres from us!
I decided to go for another quick paddle and found myself rejoined by the dolphins. Instead of jumping in I decided to sit tight and watch from the surface.
A freaking lush couple of days all round I think, and I highly recommend it, the time and effort it takes to get there is well rewarded.
Now on to Coral Bay…